Blue America Welcomes Judy Feder (VA-10)

judyfeder4.jpgToday our special Blue America guest is Judy Feder from northern Virginia, from McLean out past Winchester, who is running against 14-term backbencher Frank Wolf. Judy is one of the more articulate of our candidates– Jane had lunch with her and was impressed enough to introduce me– and I’ll be happy to let her speak for herself, while I tell you a little something about Congressman Wolf.

Like almost all Republicans– especially the ones in districts that have changed from red to purple– Wolf is now claiming to be a "moderate" and an "independent voice." (The district used to be a GOP bastion and in 2001 Mark Warner lost VA-10 by 9 points while winning the governorship. Four years later Tim Kaine won by 4 points; quite the swing. And in 2006 Jim Webb defeated incumbent wingnut George Allen here, giving him his margin of victory.

Two months ago The Economist did an excellent account of the district and why, like much of exurban America, it is no longer a GOP bastion.) But let’s take a look at how Wolf’s definition of "moderate" (which, of course, is reinforced by a lazy corporate media) stacks up against reality. Let’s take an issue that has been in the headlines lately… Iraq.

Since the October 10, 2002 Resolution Authorizing the Use of Force in Iraq, which Wolf enthusiastically voted for, there have been 63 roll calls regarding Iraq and, to his credit, Wolf hasn’t missed a single vote. Unfortunately Mr. Moderate Independent Voice voted all 63 times with Bush and Cheney. You may find that startling; it defines an utter and contemptible rubber stamp, not a moderate and not an independent voice.

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Liveblogging the Rules Meeting — The MI Challenge

As I said in this post, I was skeptical that Mark Brewer–the MDP Chair–would be able to make a strong case for the 69-59 split.

I was wrong.

The key to Mark Brewer’s success was in stating clearly that there was no way to measure the "fair reflection" of the intent of the voters who participated in the presidential selection process because, as he pointed out, there was no primary, convention, or caucus, that actually measured it.

And that’s the fundamental truth that made the Clusterfuck the Clusterfuck it was.

By starting from that premise, Mark managed to undercut the legal problem with the challenge–that the RBC doesn’t have the authority to arbitrarily impose a result. Because if the RBC seats a delegation based on the result of the January 15 Clusterfuck, then it will be violating one of its key principles.

This was the first time I’ve heard anyone from the MDP state that the Clusterfuck was not a measure of the will of the voters. I wish they had said so earlier. But I’m glad they’re making that point now.

For those wanting a primer on the fun ironies of those presenting MI’s case, btw, don’t miss this DHinMI post:

Opening the testimony will be Michigan Democratic Party chair Mark Brewer.

[snip]

I know Mark loved the process we used in 1996 through 2004, which was called a caucus but essentially worked like a closed primary. I’m quite certain that if it had been his decision alone, that Michigan would not have jumped the queue and created the mess that’s ensued. As party chair, he has to take strong cues from the governor, and much of this mess goes to Governor Jennifer Granholm. And since Jennifer Granholm has been so strongly supporting Hillary Clinton, it’s impossible to think that the Michigan mess wasn’t partly attributable to the Clinton campaign.

After Brewer will be Democratic Senator Carl Levin. Levin has been pushing to break the duopoly of Iowa and New Hampshire for years. In the past, Michigan threatened to go early in the process, but it never did. This year, with support from Granholm and other players in the state (who were with Clinton), Michigan finally jumped the queue. (more…)

The MI Challenge

As I said in this post, I was skeptical that Mark Brewer–the MDP Chair–would be able to make a strong case for the 69-59 split.

I was wrong.

The key to Mark Brewer’s success was in stating clearly that there was no way to measure the "fair reflection" of the intent of the voters who participated in the presidential selection process because, as he pointed out, there was no primary, convention, or caucus, that actually measured it.

And that’s the fundamental truth that made the Clusterfuck the Clusterfuck it was.

By starting from that premise, Mark managed to undercut the legal problem with the challenge–that the RBC doesn’t have the authority to arbitrarily impose a result. Because if the RBC seats a delegation based on the result of the January 15 Clusterfuck, then it will be violating one of its key principles.

This was the first time I’ve heard anyone from the MDP state that the Clusterfuck was not a measure of the will of the voters. I wish they had said so earlier. But I’m glad they’re making that point now.

For those wanting a primer on the fun ironies of those presenting MI’s case, btw, don’t miss this DHinMI post:

Opening the testimony will be Michigan Democratic Party chair Mark Brewer.

[snip]

I know Mark loved the process we used in 1996 through 2004, which was called a caucus but essentially worked like a closed primary. I’m quite certain that if it had been his decision alone, that Michigan would not have jumped the queue and created the mess that’s ensued. As party chair, he has to take strong cues from the governor, and much of this mess goes to Governor Jennifer Granholm. And since Jennifer Granholm has been so strongly supporting Hillary Clinton, it’s impossible to think that the Michigan mess wasn’t partly attributable to the Clinton campaign.

After Brewer will be Democratic Senator Carl Levin. Levin has been pushing to break the duopoly of Iowa and New Hampshire for years. In the past, Michigan threatened to go early in the process, but it never did. This year, with support from Granholm and other players in the state (who were with Clinton), Michigan finally jumped the queue.

Then, after Levin, we’ll have the advocates for the two campaigns, and this is where the dynamics between the players gets fun. In 2002, After three terms of ruining the state, Republican (more…)

Liveblogging the Rules Meeting — It’s Getting Hot In Here

State Senator Joyner of Florida gave an impassioned speech asking that the full delegation be seated.

Rep. Robert Wexler responded with an equally rousing speech on behalf of the Obama campaign in support of the Ausman petition. The Ausman petition calls for full seating of superdelegates (23), 50% seating of pledged delegates (50%), and 3 unpledged delegates.

Wexler is saying that unity amongst the Florida competing camps (as represented in the Ausman petition) is more important than seating all the delegates.

Ickes and Wexler sparring now. Ickes saying your tune was different four years ago — Wexler said there was not a hotly contested primary at that time.

Wexler: you should not penalize a campaign for complying with your rules.

Alice Huffman: Some of us here might truly believe that the Democrats were not at fault for what happened in Florida. What I’m confused about — I’m interested in the voters — why would seating them all be disunity rather than unity?

Wexler: I wish you had asked that question last year.

Huffman: I couldn’t forsee such a primary a year ago, so forgive me for not being able to see that crystal ball. I’ve gotten thousands of letters and emails from people requesting that they have their votes counted.

Wexler: Nobody cares more about having every vote count more than me.

(Committee moving on to Michigan before lunch.)

Mark Brewer, Michigan Dem Chair: Reducing Michigan delegates will only hurt the changes for the Democrats to win Michigan in the fall. Asking for a waiver that will allow the committee to seat the entire delegation.

Huffington Post is now reporting:

Sources with knowledge of the RBC’s inner dealings say a compromise is being crafted in which all of the candidates who took their names off of Michigan’s ballot would voluntarily agree that the now-uncommitted delegates would go to Sen. Barack Obama, after which the state’s entire delegation would be seated.

Levin: Also making a "unity" argument. It was a flawed primary — we tried to get the legislature to re-run the primary. No such luck. We want the Michigan delegation seated in full with full voting rights. Wants a 69/59 allocation. Obama wants a 64-64; Clinton wants 73-55.

(Jerome says he’s hearing there is a 17-11 support on the committee for the Ausman petition.)

Emptywheel has been following the Michigan situation closely. They split us up here today like the bad kids in class (I’m on the floor, she’s in the balcony) but she’s got more over at her place.

Levin to Ickes: "You’re calling for a fair reflection on a flawed primary." We’re trying to keep the party together for victory in November.

Bonior: Four major candidates stood with this committee to prevent nominating calendar chaos. This event, that happened on January 15, was not anything close to a normal primary election. Doesn’t mean that our state shouldn’t be represented, but does mean that the delegates should be split evenly between the remaining candidates.

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Dems meet to figure out MI, FL delegate dilemma today

(NOTE: the festivities started at 9:30 AM ET; Joe’s liveblog is here. You can watch the DNC’s live video feed here and here.)

Today’s the delegate showdown day as the Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws committee sits down and attempts to come up with a solution for seating some, all or none of the delegates by the renegade states of Florida and Michigan. Those states chose to move up their primaries in violation of party rules and the penalty all candidates and states agree on was that those delegates cannot be seated.

There is supposed to be a huge rally at this meeting; purportedly 10,000 Hillary supporters — along with McCain and Huckabee fans (!?) — will show up. (Joe Sudbay of Americablog is at the Wardman Park Marriott to liveblog the meeting and just IMed me to say there aren’t ten thousand people there, and he has pix.)

“We don’t think it’s a helpful dynamic to create chaos,” David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager, said. “In the interest of party unity, we’re encouraging our supporters not to protest.”

…Allida Black, a professor at George Washington University and a Clinton supporter, is helping to organize the demonstration and is hoping that people come from all over the nation. “We’re trying to flood it,” she says

The Clinton campaign believes that all delegates should be seated, the argument being every vote should count, since “the people” didn’t make the decision to move up the primary. On the flip side, since Obama wasn’t even on the ballot in Michigan, the results of that primary can hardly be considered a barometer of the will of the voters there; in Florida, he was on the ballot, but did not campaign, something both candidates also agreed to at the outset. Given all of this, it will come down to a decision by the 30 members of the rules committee. And who is on the committee?

The committee has several Democratic heavyweights such as Harold Ickes, one of Hillary Clinton’s top advisers; Donna Brazile, the campaign manager for Al Gore in 2000; and Alice Germond, the DNC secretary. The rest is made up of lawyers and state party members otherwise unlikely to appear on network TV.

And Ickes position is, no surprise. Read below the fold. (more…)

More from the RBC Meeting

Bill Nelson spoke on behalf of FL, supporting the Ausman challenge.

He did one thing that–as a voter from the Clusterfuck state–I found very important. He told the stories of the activists who have been working hard this election, registering new people and expanding their local parties. He described two women who have been elected delegates and who, if FL’s delegation will be seated, will represent the state in Denver.

And that, IMO, is what has been missing from this debate on all sides. Those women in FL–and a lot of the people here in MI, particularly the Obama supporters who got elected in District Caucuses–are what this process is about. Making sure those activists who will get a Democrat elected this fall go to join their colleagues from across the country.

Too often, in these debates, the activists in FL and MI have been forgotten. Thanks to Bill Nelson for remembering that this party lives and dies on the backs of activists like those two women.

Update: AZ Matt asked me whether the MI challenge has been presented yet. No. There’s one more speaker–Robert Wexler, representing the Obama camp–to speak on the FL challenge. Then the speakers on the MI challenge are, in order:

  • Mark Brewer (the challenger)
  • Carl Levin (representing the state)
  • David Bonior (representing the Obama campaign)
  • Jim Blanchard (representing the Clinton campaign)

Update: Here’s a diary from one of the two activists Nelson mentioned.

Senator Nelson just used my name to argue a position that I do not support.  Anyone who knows me or has read my diaries, knows that as a Florida grassroots organizer, I understood that Florida broke the rules. I played by the rules. I organized Tampa Bay area Obama supporters to help elect Senator Obama as our next president by fundraising, online networking and rapid response as well as phonebanking to and canvassing in other states. In fact the week before the January 29th primary, I was otherwise occupied getting out the vote in South Carolina.  I also traveled to North Carolina and phonebanked to Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, etc.

I ran for pledged Obama delegate in Florida CD 9 to make sure that IF Florida’s delegation is seated, Senator Obama would be represented by a loyal supporter in my district.

Liveblogging the DNC’s Rules & Bylaws Committee

(Emptywheel and I are at the Rules Committee meeting in DC and will be checking in throughout the day — jh)

Howard Dean has kicked off this meeting with a great speech. He emphasized the superb turnout Democrats have had this year. And he emphasized how strong we are to be able come together and disagree.

He condemned the sexist and racist statements made over the course of the primary. When he said, "on the part of the media" there were some grumblings.

He then told a story about when he was running for President. He was really really angry at what the Democratic Party had done. And he was ranting. (I imagine it went something like Argghhhhhh!!) And then Al Gore called. It took him about 20 minutes, but finally, Gore said, "Howard, this is not about you, this is about your country."

The speech made me proud to own a orange cap from Iowa.

Oh, and then he said, "we have to honor the voters who turned out, and also those voters who didn’t turn out in MI."

I got a lot of stares, up here in the media seats, for clapping loudly.

It was a good speech. We did good when we elected that man.

Howard, This Is Not About You, This Is About Your Country

Howard Dean has kicked off this meeting with a great speech. He emphasized the superb turnout Democrats have had this year. And he emphasized how strong we are to be able come together and disagree.

He condemned the sexist and racist statements made over the course of the primary. When he said, "on the part of the media" there were some grumblings.

He then told a story about when he was running for President. He was really really angry at what the Democratic Party had done. And he was ranting. (I imagine it went something like Argghhhhhh!!) And then Al Gore called. It took him about 20 minutes, but finally, Gore said, "Howard, this is not about you, this is about your country."

The speech made me proud to own a orange cap from Iowa.

Oh, and then he said, "we have to honor the voters who turned out, and also those voters who didn’t turn out in MI."

I got a lot of stares, up here in the media seats, for clapping loudly.

It was a good speech. We did good when we elected that man.

The Rules and Bylaws Committee Meeting, a Primer

So, Jane and I are at the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting this morning, expecting to see a day of high tension and cranky moods. While we’re waiting to begin, I thought I’d explain what’s going on–and what to expect, both today and as we go forward.

As you no doubt know, MI had a clusterfuck (that is, a primary which only half the candidates attended) and FL had a primary in which neither candidate won. From the beginning, the stated rules said that neither state’s delegation would be seated. At the same time, the expectation has been that MI’s delegation would be seated, but in a way that it couldn’t affect the election.

So now we’re at the point where the party has to decide how to seat both delegations. But the problem is that the decision, arguably, could have an effect on the election–precisely what wasn’t supposed to happen.

The Two Plans

Today, a muckety muck from FL (Jon Ausman) and a muckety muck from MI (Mark Brewer) will present their proposal for how the delegations should be seated.

Ausman will argue the FL elected delegates should all be seated, but with half a vote each. He will argue that all the super-delegates should be seated with a full vote. There’s a technical reason for this seemingly arrogant stance: the DNC rules say that charter members shall (must) be seated, though Ausman expands the reading of the rules so as to argue that ALL the supers–and not just the DNC member supers–should be seated, where as the DNC rules say that only the DNC member supers, and not the elected official supers, shall be seated. In any case, Ausman’s proposal essentially boils down to halving the delegation.

Brewer will argue that MI elected delegation should consist of 69 Hillary supporters and 59 Obama supporters (currently, 55 Hillary supporters and 36 "uncommitted" supporters, most of whom are Obama supporters, have been selected). The 69-59 number is the halfway point between seating the delegates based on the results of the January 15 Clusterfuck and seating the delegates in a 50-50 split. But it also is just about what a number of other solutions would work out to be. In addition to the 69-59 split, he would seat all the super-delegates. (more…)